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Blogging for Business While Inspiring Three Types of Trust

blogging to inspire trust

Trust is a powerful intangible asset,” Allen Harris, CEO of Berkshire Money Management Inc. reminds financial planners.  A Knowledge@Wharton special report describes three types of trust between financial advisors and clients:

  1. trust in know-how
  2. trust in ethical conduct
  3. trust in empathetic skills

“Trust is everything in the online world,” writes A.J. Agrawal in Forbes. In fact, Agrawal cites a recent Econsultancy study showing that 61% of customers read and trust online reviews when making a purchase. By producing quality information that’s true and reliable in every blog, you are making sure you yourself become reliable, Agriwal advises.

As business blog content writers, we can work to inspire three types of trust in the business providers and professional practitioners who hire use to convey their message:

Trust in know-how
Sharing know-how, I’ve found, is sometimes a cause for concern to some business owner and practitioner clients of Say It For You – they don’t want to come off boastful and self-serving or be perceived as using hard-sell tactics to promote themselves. But browsers on the Web “stopped” at your particular business blog because they need advice about a subject you know about, I remind them. Those readers want to feel trust in your know-how and professionalism and you won’t be able to help them until that trust happens.

Trust in ethical conduct
The second level of trust addresses the question all buyers ask themselves, “Do I trust you not to steal money from me and to deliver on your promises?” In training blog writers, I often use the example of job interviews. These days, interviewers focus less on the facts (which they’ve already read on the resume), but on how the prospective employee tends to function in various situations.  Employers are trying to discover the person behind the resume. In the same way, readers who visit your blog are trying to learn about the business owner or practitioner behind the blog.

One way to address that need is to use opinion to clarify what differentiates your business or practice from its peers. Primarily, the blog has to add value, not just a promise of value should the reader convert to a buyer, but real value in terms of information, skill enhancement, or a new way of looking at the topic. Searchers will sense that they’ve come to a provider they can trust.

Trust in empathetic skills
In meeting a financial advisor, Tucker observes, potential clients are asking themselves, “Do you care about me?” Soft skills such as relationship-building and interpersonal communication are going to be more important in coming years than technical skills, he adds.. Your content helps visitors judge whether you have their best interests at heart. Even if you’ve come across as the most competent of product or service providers, you still need to pass the “warmth” test.  Does your blog present you as “real people”, with a passion for serving in your field? In today’s click-it-yourself, do-it-yourself world, our content writing needs to demonstrate to online searchers that, in our fields, we ARE smarter than Google Maps, or eHow, or Wikipedia. Most important, we need to make clear, we’re a lot more caring for our customers – they can count on us!

 

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You’d-Be-Surprised Blogging for Business

While strange-and-unusual lists help spark readers’ curiosity and keep them moving through our blog Pinatapages, as blog content writers we can’t stop there. We need to take readers to the next step, which is telling them about surprising things they can do and accomplish (with our professional help, of course!).

For example, it’s all well and good for David Moye to write in the Huffington Post about Strange Things That Get Sent in the Mail. Strange and unusual tidbits most readers wouldn’t be likely to know can make for engaging blog content.

It’s just that strange and unusual simply isn’t enough. Unless the information is somehow tied to the reader’s problem or need, unless the blog content explains why the writer cares about that information or why that information could make a difference to the reader, there can be no Call to Action.  You’d be surprised how many businesses and practices create valuable content for their blog without going that extra step!

Online searchers must be assured they’ve come to the right place to find the information, products, and services they need. Without guidance, those searchers are unlikely to make the connection between the startling statistic, the strange-and-unusual tidbit, or the new information – and the actions they ought to consider taking!

Let’s compare that Moye article about strange things that get sent in the mail to one offered by Michele Porucznik on BuzzFeed.com called “21 Things You’d Be Surprised You Can Actually Mail”. (First off, the personal pronoun “you” takes the topic from theoretical curiousness to stuff the reader can USE!  While the average reader might never be inclined to put stamps on a coconut, a potato, a flip-flop, or a sombrero, it nevertheless offers ideas readers might use for a birthday gift or a business promotion.

You’d-be-surprised blogging for business focuses less on the surprise and more on the YOU!

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5-Question Blogging for Business

“Someone asked me a good question today about my business,” recalls executive man with question on white. Isolated 3D imagecoach Kim Stoneking.  “Fortunately,” he adds “I was prepared with an answer. The request from the prospect was, “Tell me five things that make you different from your competitors.” Because Kim had thought about that question and was prepared with a response, he was able to impress the prospective client. Kim’s challenge to his readers was to come up with that list of five for their own organizations.

I think the challenge posed to us as us business blog content writers goes one step further than that.  Not only must we (or the business owners and practitioners who’ve hired us to tell their stories) be prepared with the response to that 5-differentiator question, we need to offer the response before that question is ever asked!

And, whether the answer is five things or three or ten, online searchers need to learn the “whats” and the “whys”. Just what do you do, just what do you make, just what do you sell that sets you apart from your competitors, and just why would any of those differences matter to this prospect? You might go so far as to say that the essential purpose of a blog is to provide a forum for business owners and practitioners to answer those “what” and “why” questions.

There’s one caveat, though, I teach corporate blog content writers.. While you want to compare your products and services to others’, it must be done in a positive way. Your company blog posts can get the job done with subtlety, using the “Power of We”.  Try sentences beginning with “At _____(your company name), WE offer…………….  WE believe that……..    WE value.  Rather than devaluing other companies’ products and services, stress the positives about you and yours.

Don’t wait for someone to ask you that good question about your business – tell your readers and prospects the things that make you different from your competitors, and do it in a positive way!

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Humor Can Be a Hot Potato in Blogging for Business

“It’s no surprise that using humor in advertising is an effective way to connect with your audience and Afraid girlhumanize your brand or company,” observes Jason Miller of Social Media Examiner. “Just because your company is serious doesn’t mean all marketing has to be,” he adds.

As a corporate blogging trainer, I must admit I was relieved to see that Miller added an important caveat: “Being funny is a risk…Some people might not appreciate your company’s brand of humor!”  Bill Faeth, writing in the Inbound Marketing Blog, agrees. The reason comedies are typically outnumbered by dramas, he explains, is that being funny enough to make hundreds of people laugh without offending anyone is actually really tough. You can poke fun at yourself, Faeth suggests. Almost anything else, especially competitors or where they live – probably a no-no.

On the other hand, (one of the functions of a business blog, I have taught business owners and professional practitioners IS to offer different aspects of an issue before explaining why they are on one side or the other of that issue), Hope Hatfield of LocalDirective.com  points out that humor is a hook, having the same impact as a strong headline to grab the audience’s attention. Humor’s an icebreaker, she adds, but only so long as you carefully consider your target market, focusing the humor around a problem your company can solve.

No matter how funny your marketing messages are, don’t forget that the goal is to educate your prospects about your products and services. “You want to make sure that you don’t lose the message in the humor, Hatfield cautions.

Research at the Saimaa University of Applied Sciences on the impact of humor in advertising on consumer purchase decisions concluded that, while humor is an effective method of attracting attention to advertisements, it does not offer an advantage over non humor at increasing persuasion.

So what do I think the bottom line is for using humor in blogging for business? Well,…barring politics (including company, city, state, national, and international), religion, ethnic groups, physical appearance, food preferences, insider information, and anything anyone might conceive as risque – go right ahead.  But keep the humor centered around your own weaknesses and around the consumers’ problem you’re offering to solve.

 

 

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